Even though Google had been working on an incarnation of Android since 2005, the search giant was effectively forced to scrap everything they had done and start from scratch once Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in January of 2007. In a famous anecdote originally told by Fred Vogelstein, Apple’s iPhone unveiling was a watershed moment for Google engineers as they realized that the version of Android they had been working on for years had just been superseded by Apple in one fell swoop.
Google was initially planning to release its first Android phone by the end of 2007, but as Google engineer Chris DeSalvo tells it, Apple’s iPhone turned that plan upside down.
“As a consumer I was blown away,” DeSalvo told Vogelstein. “I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.'”
“What we had suddenly looked just so . . . nineties,” DeSalvo added. “It’s just one of those things that are obvious when you see it.”
In early 2007, Google engineers dutifully went back to the drawing board. About 18 short months later, the first commercial Android phone — the HTC Dream, also known as the G1 — was released to the public.
The HTC Dream wasn’t exactly an iPhone clone (it did have a slideout keyboard after all), but it did incorporate some design elements first popularized by the iPhone. And while it would be a few years before Android samrtphones would eventually manage to reach feature and usability parity with the iPhone, the HTC Dream paved the way for what would soon become an increasingly crowded field of compelling Android handsets.
Looking back at what is now ancient tech history, EverythingApplePro recently decided to take a trip down memory lane and compare the original iPhone against the original Android smartphone. It’s worth noting that for purposes of this review, both devices are running original 1.0 versions of iOS and Android.
As to the differences between the two devices, it’s hard to ignore just how great a device the iPhone was for its time. Not only was it twice as thin as the G1, it outperformed the G1 even with less impressive hardware specs. That said, there were a few features on the G1 that the iPhone didn’t have at launch, with multitasking support being one such example. Additionally, the camera on the G1 was slightly better than the rudimentary camera that shipped on the original iPhone.
The video is altogether fascinating, especially for anyone who can remember when both of these devices were cutting edge.